We have arrived at the final home stretch of the season and the last 20 games will be the difference between a great playoff position or in some cases teams missing out on the playoffs altogether. Most teams will be pushing on the gas to grab playoff position while certain teams will be tanking to get a great lottery draft position. I’ve parsed through it all to find the winning Banker and 2 team parlay.
Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets
After an impressive start to the season, the Charlotte Hornets have completely fallen apart. At 29-31, the Hornets are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference but they’re going to need to turn things around soon to keep that position. The Hornets lost three games in a row going into the All-Star break and are 1-9 in the last 10. The Hornets made a deadline move to acquire Montrezl Harrell. Harrell has helped statistically but he is not translating into wins for the struggling Charlotte team.
The Toronto Raptors are in the opposite situation. After a slow start, the Raptors have been absolutely on fire going 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Raptors have one of the most complete groups of wing players in the NBA. With Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes, the Raptors have three versatile and athletic wings that they can mix and match on both the offensive and defensive ends. Toronto’s versatility and ability to play the switch defense perfectly has been instrumental in their win streak.
I like the Toronto Raptors to get it done here tonight. Toronto has many different defenders to slow down the engine to Charlotte’s offense, LaMelo Ball. Toronto should also be able to beat Charlotte on the glass, a weakness for the Hornets this season. Although Harrell has improved their rebounding, there are many good rebounders on the Raptors, and Harrell can only box out one of them. I expect the Raptors to defend well, beat Toronto on the glass, and cover the NBA odds. Tonight’s Banker is the Toronto Raptors – 1.
2 Team Parlay
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks
At 38-21, Miami Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Tonight they face one of the most disappointing teams in the East this season, the New York Knicks. The Knicks have a record of 25-34. After a breakout year last season under coach Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks have regressed severely this season. The tricks that Thibodeau was able to use last season are no longer working and the Knicks are back in the lottery picture. The Knicks have also been playing worse as the season has gone on. They are 2-8 in their last 10. Tonight they face a tough task going against the class of the Eastern Conference.
The Miami Heat are 6-4 in their last 10 and have a point differential +4.5 this season. The Heat won 4 of their last 5 going into the All-Star break. The Heat have more talent and are better coached at every position of the game. I do not think that the Knicks will have an answer for Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo. Plus the Heat’s role players have been excellent from 3-point range. The Heat do an excellent job of finding players when they are open. I expect Miami to get the win tonight and for the Knicks to have a poor end of the season, leading to an offseason of changes. The Miami Heat will reinforce the Knicks roster flaws tonight, get the win, and cover NBA odds. The first half of the two-team parlay for the Miami Heat -4.5.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz
The Dallas Mavericks used a strong push to move up to fifth place in the Western Conference at 35-24. Tonight they have a chance to move even farther up the standings and close the gap with the fourth-place team in the West, the 36-22 Utah Jazz. This game will be crucial for playoff positioning and I expect both teams to give their best effort tonight. Also, if the seedings were to hold, this will be a playoff preview of a first-round potential matchup.
The Utah Jazz have consistently been on the top of the Western Conference standings but have not had much playoff success. That specter hangs over their heads and the Jazz know that they will be judged not by their ability to win in the regular season, but by their ability to win in the playoffs. Tonight’s game has a direct correlation because a win would be key for them to get home court advantage against their potential first round opponent Dallas Mavericks. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are back in the lineup and the Jazz have been playing much better.
The Dallas Mavericks have turned their defense around under new coach Jason Kidd. The Mavericks jettisoned Kristaps Porzingis who seemed to have a personality clash with the team star Luka Doncic. Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie replace Porzingis. Now Dallas has more ability to create off the dribble with Dinwiddie; Bertans can space the floor in the same manner that Porzingis did. All in all, the Mavericks know they can count on Luka to get clutch buckets so they’ve been concentrating on playing stellar defense in order to get these wins.
I like the Mavericks to cover the NBA odds of 6 points tonight. This should be a close game and I have this game at -4. This gives us a 2 point advantage against NBA odds. I know the Jazz will be looking to blow them out, but the Mavericks are a resilient team. It’s tough to put away Dallas, especially with the way they’ve been defending. The second half of the two-team parlay is the Dallas Mavericks +6.